Luke 15:1-10 “Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them."Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
Without, as Jessica says, “demonizing” humanity, I looked at the above verse and wondered how much I identified with what Strong's concordance definition of sinner. The two that stood out were, devoted to sin and not free from sin. There are areas of my life that I devote myself to. They are not righteous areas and if Jesus were to ask me to give them up, which He has, I would have a difficult time doing so. I am not free from them. They are areas that we all struggle in, faithlessness, wrong priorities, not putting God first, using Christianity as a side dish. They're sins that start out so little, and after a time of overlooking become a way of life. A day of not communicating with God turns into two, and then a week and then a month. And the saying that you've heard from Tryon Edwards at Church a million times becomes true: “Thoughts lead on to purpose, purpose leads on to actions, actions form habits, habits decide character, and character fixes our destiny”. And you let your destiny get robbed from you. And I'm not talking about the great job, husband or ministry, I'm talking about the destiny that you've been specifically purposed for, and that is, a whole-hearted devotional relationship with Jesus.
- James 1:13-18 “... but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
- And your desires, however mild mannered they may be, if allowed to progress into an unhealthy distraction, will produce death inside of your relationship with God.
- Looking: definition:
- Strong's Concordance: 872
1. to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something
Hebrews 12:2 “Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
- What distracts you from Jesus? What makes you think that the tangibles of the world will suffice for your desires that only God can fulfill. Mekenzie read me a quote from the book Soul Cravings a long time ago, that has stuck with me, “It is insanity to run from God searching for love.” And you can really place whatever you want into the word love. “It is insanity to run from God searching for ______.” Fill in the blank.
1 Corinthians 8:5-6 “For although there may be so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many of them, both of gods and of lords and masters, Yet for us there is [only] one God, the Father, Who is the Source of all things and for Whom we [have life], and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through and by Whom are all things and through and by Whom we [ourselves exist].”
- And also,
- 2 Corinthians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God [Who is the Source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement).”
- It is insanity to run from the Source of all things, in order to find them. So why do we run? I run because the tangible is easier to obtain, my reward is present and at my fingertips and I don't have to work for it. My easy-mac Christianity is totally disgusting and counterfeit and yet filling in the same moment. And when you are full and you discover that your diet is suffering because you've been ingesting processed cheese for weeks, and you begin to feel unhealthy. . . you come back. You come back because you know Truth and you know that He'll be waiting.
- Prodigal-One Republic
- We say good-bye, I turn my back, Run away, run away, So predictable.
Not far from here, You see me crack, Like a bone, like a bone, I'm so breakable.
- And I take everything from you, But you'll take anything, Won't you?
Run away, run away, Like a prodigal, Don't you wait for me.
So ashamed, so ashamed, But I need you so, And you wait for me.
I'm on the road, To who knows where, Look ahead, not behind, I keep saying.
There's no place to go, Where you're not there, On your rope, I hold tight, But it's fraying.
And I'll take everything from you, But you'll take anything, Won't you?
- Luke 15:11-24 Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. "The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.”
- The father did not begin their reunion with questioning, “Why have you come back? What were you thinking? What were you doing out there without me, without my guidance? Are you staying for good? Will you go back after you get bored again? What sins did you commit, were they horrific, were they small?” He asked none of those questions. He was filled with compassion. God is not waiting to berate you and condemn you for being gone or for the level of your sins. He is waiting to be gracious to you, he longs, expects and looks to be gracious to you, to have unmerited favor towards you. So push through the awkward frustrating moments of reconciliation, don't waste any more time.
Isaiah 30:18-21 “And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]! O people who dwell in Zion at Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide Himself any more, but your eyes will constantly behold your Teacher. And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way; walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.”
- And will it not benefit you to dwell on your past. God doesn't. So move on. Don't waste your moments of compassionate reconciliation on whining about your mistakes. God doesn't and if you are conforming yourself to Jesus, then you shouldn't either.
- Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”
- "Arithmetic" Brook Fraser
I've been counting up all my wrongs, One sorry for each star
- See I'd apologize my way to you, If the heavens stretched that far
You are the one I want, you are the one I want
I won't find what I am looking for, If I only "see" by keeping score.
'Cos I know now you are so much more than arithmetic
'Cos if I add, if I subtract, If I give it all, try to take some back
I've forgotten the freedom that comes from the fact
- That you are the sum
So you are the one
- Psalms 84:8-12 “Hear my prayer, O Lord God Almighty; listen to me, O God of Jacob. Selah Look upon our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one. Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.”
- I will posses your heart- Death Cab for Cutie
- How I wish you could see the potential, the potential of you and me
It's like a book elegantly bound, but in a language that you can't read - just yet
You gotta spend some time--love, you gotta spend some time with me
And I know that you'll find--love, I will possess your heart (x2)
There are days when outside your window, I see my reflection as I slowly pass
And I long for this mirrored perspective, when we'll be lovers, lovers at last
You gotta spend some time--love, you gotta spend some time with me
And I know that you'll find--love, I will possess your heart(x2)
You reject my advances and desperate pleas
I won't let you, let me down so easily, so easily